Keys are common. Of all the things most people have right now either on their person or within a room’s distance, keys are one of the most important. They hold a tremendous amount of value, both from a subjective standpoint and also an objective one. Bestowing so much importance on a small object can be a problem when many people can access those small objects. Here we explore the best methods for key management systems. These practices are suggestions for businesses that rely on key management systems with many users.
How are keys secured?
As you already know, it’s not a good idea to keep keys stored in an insecure location. Ideally, everyone would store keys in a lockbox with one responsible person in charge of access to it. The lockbox should not be mobile. There are many ways to secure a lockbox to your building. Each situation is different, however, so if you need help with ideas for how to immobilize your lockbox, please ask us for tips.
If your business also uses video cameras for security, it’s a good idea to have the key storage lockbox in the view of one of the video cameras.
Who can access the keys?
Without a doubt, the most important factor about key control is put a responsible person in charge of tracking the keys. To determine whether a person is likely to be responsible upon hiring them, check the following:
- Criminal history
- Employment history
- Available references
The best test is always experience, though. An employee known to be trustworthy is a valuable asset. Regardless of how you vet your employees, make sure you know who has key access.
It’s often a good idea to make one person the sole responsible key manager. If keys need to be accessible on a 24-hour basis, there should still be one person for each shift who is ultimately responsible for key management. This person is not just in charge of having key access but is also responsible for giving other people access to keys. Once keys are handed out, the key manager should also be in charge of tracking the keys in an accessible, organized fashion that can be handed off to another person. That will help continuity across shift changes and it will allow someone else to take over in case of illness or unforeseen absence. In other words, simply remembering who has which keys is not sufficient. A record book should include the following:
- Name of recipient
- Contact information for recipient
- Reason (if applicable)
- Which key was given out (use whatever identification features your keys have)
- Signature (for both the key manager and the recipient)
- Date of return
- Signatures for returned keys
If deposits are also taken before handing out keys, the key manager should note the amount of the key deposit in the record book.
How are the keys organized?
The basic requirements for an organized key management system are the following:
- It must be easy to find the key you want.
- If the key is not there you must be able to contact the person who has it.
- A knowledgeable person should be able to identify the key by looking at it.
There are a few helpful organization tips you can use to keep keys organized and sorted in their lockbox. Keys can be engraved with a numbered identification system. This is a popular option because engravings are difficult to change or erase. Numbers can also serve as unique identifiers, and it’s easy to sort keys by number. For example, if you need to keep keys for many buildings, you could create numbering system that allows all keys to a certain building to start with the same number. For further organization, you could then include a decimal point, then give the key a room number or other unique identifier.
While numbers are a useful tool for organization, so are colors. Colors can help classify keys into categories like building or key type or even by the department the key belongs to.
Another easy organization method to track keys is by spatial orientation. For example, on the inside of your lockbox you could keep a map of your property with keys hanging on hooks over the locations they unlock. This is especially useful for companies that require keys to buildings on a university campus or other institute that covers a lot of ground.
For more information on how to improve your key management system or for information on an electronic key management system, please Contact us! .